Channel | Highlights

Dealers: Midwest Compliance Summit a Success

CHICAGO — Many of the dealership personnel who attended last week’s Compliance Summit made the trip to the DoubleTree Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., ready to absorb the latest in compliance strategies.

“I wanted to know where to go with our program,” said Karina Morgan, compliance director for the Dayton, Ohio-based Voss Auto Network, adding that she has been following moves made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and wanted to hear what the experts had to say. “My biggest takeaway is that, yes, we are doing things right. I actually put out a memo in our newsletter to our employees to thank them for following our policies and procedures. But I also gathered quite a bit of information about the CFPB and enough information to update our fair credit policy.”

Compliance Summit Midwest began with an evening reception on Monday, April 20, and continued Tuesday with a full slate of featured presentations and panel discussions. Bob Harkins of American Guardian Warranty Services, acted as master of ceremonies for the duration of the event. The agenda was divided into four topic headings: Rules and Regulations, Your Responsibilities, Easy-to-Implement Processes and Controls and Is It Compliant?, an open-forum discussion between attendees and speakers.

Among them was Terry O’Loughlin, an attorney and director of compliance for Reynolds and Reynolds. O’Loughlin began his career as a regulator with the Florida attorney general’s office, where he initiated actions against dozens of dealers. He also delivered “Regulations: Where Past Is Prologue,” early in the day, a presentation that captivated David Volckmann, a finance manager with I-25 Kia in Longmont, Colo.

“I really enjoyed hearing from the prosecuting attorney,” he said. “Those are the guys you have to be scared of. When a lawyer who prosecuted dealers gets up there, you have to pay attention.” Volckmann added that he is in the process of designing a compliance management system (CMS) for his dealership. “Me being at this meeting was a way to take our compliance process to the next level… I really feel this meeting was the frontline of the army that’s trying to protect this industry.”

Gene Allen Jr., business director and compliance auditor for Champion Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM in Indianapolis, also singled out O’Loughlin’s presentation as one to remember.

“There are some things I want to implement to make things a little more seamless,” Allen said. “There are certain things we want to do to be more of a concierge for our clients and stay buttoned up. I am going to implement some strategies I know will work and I will lean on the information I received at Compliance Summit.”

The conference continued with hard-hitting discussions among attorneys who, collectively, represent thousands of dealers, car buyers and product providers. Mosaic Compliance Services’ Jim Ganther moderated a panel discussion between fellow attorneys Robert Steenbergh of US Equity Advantage and Marc Waite, corporate counsel for Indiana’s Gurley-Leep Auto Management group.

Aaron E. Lunt, assistant general counsel/head of regulatory affairs with The Warranty Group, and Patricia Kelly, senior counsel for the Chicago and Northern Illinois chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), also took part in panel discussions, and Kelly’s boss, President and CEO Steve Bernas, served as luncheon speaker. Bernas discussed the work the BBB does on behalf of and in conjunction with dealers, including an ad review program initiated by his group and the Chicago Auto Trade Association (CATA), to a receptive audience.

Other speakers included United Development Systems Inc. (UDS)’s Randy and Brian Crisorio, Bill Kelly of Automotive Development Group (ADG), World Class Dealer Services’ Michael Tuno, Brian Reed of Intersection Technologies Inc. – F&I Express, Doug Fusco of DealerSafeGuardSolutionS, and JC Cramer, director of compliance for Detroit’s Feldman Auto Group. David Robertson, executive director of the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals (AFIP), delivered an impassioned speech about the role of human nature and personal accountability in overcoming compliance challenges.

The conversation ran the gamut from the CFPB and FTC to truth-in-advertising standards, fair credit policy and fixed prices for dealer-arranged financing and F&I products. The 80-member audience was active and engaged, peppering speakers with questions about the real-world implications of the topics at hand. Asked whether the concerns he brought to Compliance Summit were answered, Alessandro Meloni answered in the affirmative.

“A lot of them, yes, and answers to questions I never had that came up in discussions throughout the day,” said the finance manager for Transwest Buick GMC Isuzu in Henderson, Colo. When he returned to the dealership, he said, he shared his newfound expertise with his management team. “I told them we do have some changes and a lot of discussion that needs to take place. We run a pretty tight ship. We’ll look into building a CMS and nominate a compliance officer.”

Ultimately, said Voss Auto Network’s Morgan, the trip was made worthwhile by the content presented and the networking opportunities that filled the time between sessions. “You know, I’m not an attorney, and there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know. But I know where to find it,” she said. “I have a whole handful of new cards from people I can call upon with questions.”

To view the PowerPoint presentations from this years event click here.

View PowerPoint Presentations

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2017 Conference Team

Conference Management

David Gesualdo
Group Publisher and Show Chair
727-947-4027
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Kate Spatafora
Associate Publisher, MG Business Media
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Registration & Sponsorship Fulfillment

Allison Delmonico
Executive Assistant, MG Business Media
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Eric Gesualdo
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